2017 Update: Standards have dropped at this place, I do not recommend their laksa anymore.
Molokai @ Xin Tian Di has been a favourite haunt since I discovered it last year. Actually, I have walked past the restaurant countless times when I went to Xin Tian Di for movies, but never tried them out until last year, and oh how I regretted being so late to the game.
Molokai markets itself as a hongkong tea restaurant (茶餐厅), but in actual fact, is more of a comfort food restaurant, serving various favourites from around the world that would sooth the home-sick soul. The vibe is very casual and laid back. I would even consider it the Xin Tian Di canteen, but in a positive manner. One can simply walk in, lose all pretense and enjoy a good hearty bowl of noodles made from high quality ingredients.
Their Singaporean dishes are surprisingly authentic; Both the hainanese chicken rice and laksa has consistently scored major points from me, and this was after many visits.
Today’s review will only be on their laksa and a fried wonton side dish; The wife and I popped by for a late dinner at 8:30pm and both of us ordered the laksa.
The food at Molokai as I had said, has been incredibly consistent. The most important element of the laksa is the soup. It has to be strongly spiced and be bursting with umami from dried shrimps and coconut milk. The laksa at Molokai certainly hit all the right spots. Beautiful soup, rich, full of spice but not overly spicy on the tongue (chilli). I was immediately transported back into sitting at a coffee shop in Singapore.
The ingredients are spot on too. Fish cake is thick and fragrant with smooth flesh. Half a ramen egg was included which is nice. 3 medium sized de-shelled prawns have a nice crunch and tasted fresh. Tofu puffs while small, did a good job soaking up the soup and burst in your mouth. The thick vermicelli noodles were cooked perfectly; I wouldn’t say al dente because these aren’t suitable for al dente (with a bite), but more towards soft with a little resistance. This is by far the best and most accessible (for me) Laksa in Shanghai for me. The next strongest contender would be the Laksa at Orchard CRC, but it is a little out of the way for me. Toast box’s laksa has officially gone to shit when they started adding cucumbers and shredded cabbage on their laksa.
The only thing that I think could improve for Molokai’s laksa would be to remove that piece of coriander they use as garnish, and replace it with some freshly shredded ‘laksa-leaves’, which surprisingly can be found at City Shop!
To make the meal more interesting, I also ordered the fried wontons. They were 8 very large wontons, each containing 2-3 prawns with minced pork. The wonton fillings are very authentic as per Hong Kong standards (I’m half hongkie), with the correct type and amount of seasoning. Quite good value at ¥38.
Overall the prices are above average at Molokai, but that’s a given, being located in Xin Tian Di. The quality of the food makes up for all of it. Other notable favourites that have been tried and tested are the Hainanese Chicken Rice, Beef brisket curry, pork chop noodles, just to name a few. Their pork chop baked rice wasn’t very good though, so you can give that a pass.
All in all, this is a place that I visit every other week. It has already become a staple in our dining out options or when I’m simply looking for a quick fix. Give it a try and let me know how you liked it!